Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials have been frequent and vocal critics of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response.
Now, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is accusing the White House of withholding monoclonal antibody treatments from residents of the state, Fox News reports.
“Actively preventing the effective distribution”
About three months ago, DeSantis criticized the White House for its federal distribution of such COVID-19 treatments, asserting that it would put his and other GOP-led states at a disadvantage.
Ladapo took that position one step further with a letter sent on Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.
The state official asserted that the Biden administration is “actively preventing the effective distribution” of the promising drugs within the state.
He was likely referring to reports that the White House stopped distributing treatments produced by Regeneron and Eli Lilly after claims emerged that such therapies were not effective against the omicron variant. The Biden administration did, however, continue to distribute Sotrovimab, a treatment made by GlaxoSmithKline that is believed to be effective against the latest COVID-19 strain.
It is worth noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revised down the number of omicron infections. This revision would suggest that other variants are still leading to infections and that the Biden administration’s decision to halt the distribution of such therapeutics was premature.
“More than most other states”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services issued a response to Ladapo’s letter.
“The federal government has and will continue to supply Florida with treatments that can help improve patient outcomes, reduce stress on healthcare facilities, and save lives,” the source insisted, according to Fox. “We have never stopped allocating or shipping COVID-19 therapeutics to Florida.”
As for the monoclonal antibody treatments mentioned in the letter, the HHS spokesperson asserted that “the federal government has allocated about 22,000 doses in just the past two weeks” to Florida “in addition to the approximately 28,000 doses of product that they have on hand from their previous orders.”
Based on those numbers, the sources concluded, “Florida should have strong supply of product on hand — and more than most other states.”
As of this writing, Ladapo has not directly responded to the Biden administration’s statement.